Itchy, scratchy and swelling

Summer long days, cloudless skies, rolling fields and … horse flies.

Bitten by a horsefly, your horse will leap about and so will you. It hurts!

While the male horsefly fills up on just nectar and pollen, the female is the one to avoid. Needing a diet of blood for reproduction, the female will actively target your horse and you. Ripping at skin with serrated jaws, horseflies often inflict sufficient pain to allow them to escape. That said, they are easier to kill after they have had dinner!

Horseflies are attracted to movement and also to dark colours, which is why dark horses are more prone to horsefly bites than greys.

And in the way some horses react more than others, going all lumpy and oozing orange goo from the site of the bite, so do some people!

My bite was the size of a pinhead. Initially it was painful, but with the horsefly dead, I thought nothing more about it, until… it started to itch.

I scratched my leg just a little and then a bit more, until it was so itchy my raking fingernails were drawing blood! But did that stop the itching? No, it was still itching. No amount of scratching stopped it itching. And then, the tiny pinhead bite started to morph.

It was Saturday night and my leg was growing and growing fast. I could even feel the swelling begin to move as a separate entity when I walked! Was I starting to grow another limb from my thigh? Did my swelling require a discussion with an out of hours, non English speaking, locum GP? Was it bad enough to warrant a trip to A & E on the night reseverd for football fans and party goers? I was starting to worry.

All I can say is thank God, I have a better stocked medicine cupboard than the local hospital’s pharmacy. Piriton, Ibuprufen and Germolene cream got me through to the light of Sunday morning and and my leg returning to normal size or it didn’t, but at least it stopped growing!

My leg took a few weeks to get properly better but more brave people have gone to the doctor for less.

Note to self – wear insect repellant and lots of it in summer! Some of the citronella sprays smell lovely!

ps I’ve just seen citronella bracelets and mane tags. Not sure if they’re any good but I think they could be worth a try.